22 June 2011


Ever since my kids have been old enough to go outside by themselves for even a minute, I’ve been seriously annoyed by door-hollering. Perhaps this happens at your house as well. First, you spend a seeming eternity assisting the the little dears out the door through a cacophony of endless mom-ming: “Mom! Mom, where’s my other shoe, Mom?” “Mom! I can’t find my hat! Mom! ” “Hey Mom, oops, the dog just got out, Mom!” (Really, how is it even possible for every sentence not only to begin, but also to end, with that blessed apellation? )

Then you shut the door behind them with a sigh of relief, and think that maybe you can have just a moment’s peace to finish the cup of tea that’s already been reheated three times, or maybe even to go to the bathroom! by yourself! just because! with no pounding on the door!

Not a chance.

Aaaaaand…three, two, one…the door shoots back open, a head pokes in, and the door-hollering begins: “Mom, have you seen my mud boots?” “Mom! I’m bleeding!” And then my personal favorite, which just goes on and on like this: “Mom! Moooooooom! MOM! Mooooooooooooooooom!” until I appear.

Here’s what irritated me the most about door hollering: Don’t these demanding little urchins realize that I have THINGS to do? Doesn’t it ever cross their minds that I might be upstairs, or across the house, or nursing a baby, or in the middle of lunch prep, or otherwise unavailable? Do they think that after I shove them out the door, I sit just inside, waiting to fulfill their next request? They think they can just take me for granted?!

Ahem. So I was remembering what I read long ago in some book or other (quite possibly Divorce Busting) about why divorce can be so devastating to children: because parents, yes, even imperfect and imperfectly matched parents, provide an “invisible structure” that children desperately need, though they’re not even conscious of its presence. Yank that foundation from beneath them, and they topple.

Invisible structure. Hmmm. So. I’m not a vending machine of immediate availabity, and we’re still working on door decorum, but as it turns out, I am here precisely so that I can be taken for granted.* Even when I match the volume of an urgent bug jar request with a cranky “WOULD YOU PLEASE STOP SHOUTING—YOUR SISTER IS NAPPING!”—the invisible structure is affirmed. They know that I’m here, and that eventually I will indeed provide them with an appropriate receptacle for their latest invertebrate acquisition, and so they can carry on with their business of going forth and adventuring about and growing up. (And I’m working on the cranky, too. ;P )

*Although a thoughtfully personalized Mother’s Day card a couple decades down the road sure wouldn’t hurt :D.


Megan said...

Thank God this happens to somebody else too! I remember once upon a sweet newlywed day dreaming of hearing little voices call out "Mom". Now it's all I hear... every day... from the moment I wake... till they are all in bed. I have been known to force the kids outside to eat a snack, just so I can sneak a chocolate in peace. I don't think I'd even attempt a cup of tea there would be no time before that first door holler.

Heather Best said...

And don't forget that their are 4 of these door-opening offenders (at least for me) who come in at all different times, and with each opening and closing of the door, there is the mad shuffle to keep the baby from toddling out of it and then the inevitable crying when he realizes he is the only one not allowed to go out cuz he's not big enough yet. Sheesh! :)

Leah said...

In the past I have worked on the "door hollering thing" around here as a matter of manners and respect.

Now it's a matter of my own survival, 'CAUSE IF THEY WAKE THE BABY AGAIN...!!!!!

Reb. Mary said...

Megan, porch snacks are an oft-used tactic around here too. And at least the annoyance of constant "mom"ming has its flip side---when you answer the thousandth "Mom?" of the morning with "WHAT ALREADY?!" and their urgent request was simply to give you that impish look and say, "Mom, I really just love you." ;)

Heather, our resident baby is also at the grab-her-sandals-and-pound-on-back-door-when-left-behind stage ;P

Leah, and how. ;)

Katy said...

I just leave the back door open (it opens to a three season porch. That door is left open, too). I don't mind the "mom-ing," just the TONE and endurance (especially from my 2-yr-old boy).

Leah, I'm working on the manners part of it, which is why the door is always open--I want them to walk in and ask/say what they will to my face. However, some instances really call for yelling--my 3-yr-old is getting good at discerning emergency, so I can trust her yell means something.

I wish sometimes my kitchen windows faced the backyard, so I could see what was happening, and ignore the false alarms. But then the windows would face east, not west, and I'd miss that warm summer evening dinner prep/cleanup sunshine.

Emily Cook said...

as I read this I ignored the door hollerin behind me... and my husband answered it. Yay for our invisible and complimentary structure.

jenny said...

THis comment has nothing to do with the post although I enjoyed reading it immensely.

The whole "contact us by email" thing did not work for me, hence the comment that follows:

I'm looking for a blog about raising boys. I've seen several about raising girls, but would love to see one about boys. I have 3. No girls. Maybe I should start one?? Humph...right...I'm no expert. I'm looking for the person who is!

Chris and Jane Kirk said...

Ah this is fun to read late at night with only the hum of the computer to keep me company. Early tomorrow morning we will start the familiar "Mom" cry's again (if we make it through the night, which is iffy).


Amie said...

I am just trying to get them to close the door behind then when they come in yelling. :)

Melrose said...

I've had a total of 6 parents in my life due to divorce (more than once) and death (also more than once)...and that's not even counting the man my step mom married after my father was killed...soooo, yea, that invisible structure thing: it's totally true. Thanks be to God I was brought to the font and to a wonderful LCMS church every Sunday of my childhood where the VISIBLE structure was given to me :)

Melrose said...

Jenny, I have 3 boys too :) Another child (not sure of the gender) is on the way. I know of a blog with a woman that has 5 boys I think and one girl. It's the last link on the "things we read" sidebar on my blog. It's not specifically about raising boys but since she homeschools it's a common topic of discussion :) I know of another woman too with 5 boys I think? Ill try to find her blog and let you know!

Emily Cook said...

Not an expert by any means (I had no brothers so this boy stuff is very new to me), but I have four boys, and they are often my inspiration for blogging. See http://weakandloved.blogspot.com

You may relate especially to Chaos Management and Grunt Interpretation.

Reb. Mary said...

Melrose; thank God that His purposes prevail despite the perniciousness of sin (I think that on a daily basis as I contemplate my many failures!)

Jenny, sounds like you're getting pointed in some good directions. But you should probably go ahead and start your own blog, too, because after all you're the expert on your own three boys, no? :)

Melrose said...

DUH!!! lol, Emily's blog is the other one I was thinking of!! :D So there you go Jenny ;)

Anonymous said...

Just lock the door.

They only bang incessantly the first couple of times you do it.

After that they know they have to solve their own problems until you open the door and call them back in.